I think gathering needs mini-games. Ones that are both weighted based on player skill, and by avatar skill. Bonus points for a team-game when multiple people are gathering the same node.
This makes gathering both more interesting, as well as makes botting more difficult. Eve mining was basically ruined by people running Bots in Null-sec. Last I saw some hard numbers there are enough minerals in storage right now to account for all the new ship construction in the game for the next 5+ years, even if no-one in game mined a single asteroid. People running bots and multi-boxing gathering has really hurt the games economy. Especially since the economy in EVE basically IS the game.
Yes mini-games can be corny and get boring, but I don't think they can be more boring that staring at a progress bar while watching your avatar mindlessly hack at a resource.